You get some stupid questions when you’re pregnant. One my favorites is “Do you know what you’re having?” To which the correct response is “Yes. A baby”, although I have also been tempted to answer “Not really. We’re hoping it’s a baby but I DID lose time a few months ago and I figure I was abducted again so…….alien spawn is always possible. The ultrasound is inconclusive……and I have a weird craving for beetles.”
But the most ridiculous question comes AFTER you have a baby, and it’s this: “Is he/she a good baby??”
As opposed to what? An EVIL baby? The offspring of Satan? Stewie Griffin?? I’ve always had to fight to urge to reply “Good grief no, he’s horrible. Head spins round, projectile vomiting, sells meth to fourth graders….. and I found plans for world domination in the crib”
Except we all know that “good baby” is just code for “baby who sleeps through the night”. Because “sleeping through the night” is (as I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned) the Ultimate Holy Grail of parenting. It’s also completely unrealistic – tiny babies have stomachs the size of lima beans, OF COURSE they’re going to have to eat every few hours. I’d heard about mythical magical babies who slept through the night at six weeks or six months or jeez, any time before preschool. I just figured they were either robots, or heavily drugged, or the child of pathological liars. I didn’t believe in Santa, unicorns, or Babies Who Slept Through The Night.
The Kicker sleeps through the night.
Seriously. Every night. Since she was tiny – well, tinier. She’s been known to go a full EIGHT hours. Wtf? I mean hallelujah, really, but also wtf? How?? This never happened to me before. But fifth time around, I finally have me A Good Baby. Also proof that God exists and is Merciful.
Now when I get the stupid question, I’m not snarky at all (another miracle!). I reply “oh YES!”, then lean in conspiratorially and whisper “she sleeps through the night”. She also naps well (generally), sometimes even puts herself to sleep, and doesn’t cry too much……. with one exception.
She hates the car. She will scream and scream and scream. The Canadian is in denial about this. The Canadian is a Car Guy. He drives to relax. He makes cute little “brrmm brrmm” noises when he accelerates on the freeway, like a five year old with his hot wheels. He dreams of building a Shelby Cobra in the garage. The thought that a child of his would Not Enjoy The Car is more than the poor man can handle.
“You’re not allowed to hate the car”, he tells her, bewildered.
“She’s not allowed to hate the car”, he tells me.
“We just need to take her driving MORE, get her used to it”, he adds.
(I’m not sure how we’d make that happen, given how much driving I already do, but I’m sure as heck not looking forward to that four hour drive to a family wedding in a few weeks….)
I’ll come back from taking her somewhere and tell him how she screamed all the way there and all the way back, sobbing and bellowing like I was leaving her at an orphanage run by clowns.
“Did you talk to her?” he’ll ask. Because SOMETIMES, if HE talks to her, she’ll settle down. Now I don’t know if she just prefers deeper voices or if he’s just some kind of half-assed* baby whisperer, but it doesn’t work when I do it. Not even when I reassure her that we are NOT going to the orphanage, and promise to keep the nasty clowns away.
You know those cute little “Baby on Board” car decals? Before I had children – back when phones were still connected to the wall and Star Trek: The Next Generation** looked futuristic – I just didn’t get those things. So you’ve got a baby, I thought. Whoop de doo. Is this a bragging thing? Hey world, I procreated! Why are you bothering to advertise this? Who cares?
Now I understand what those little signs are for. They’re a WARNING. “Baby on Board” actually translates to “CAUTION: the driver of this vehicle is possibly being subjected to the most stressful sound known to humankind. Maintain a safe distance at all times”. That’s why they’re yellow. Like caution tape.
I don’t HAVE one of those signs, but if you see me driving about you’d best exercise caution anyway. The Kicker is probably bellowing way louder than anything weighing 13 pounds should be able to, and I’m gritting my teeth and leaving claw marks on the steering wheel. But at least I’m not sleep deprived.
*It’s not like he’s THAT good. It only works SOME of the time.
**Fun fact: when The Hair was a baby, I watched a LOT of TNG (on VHS, from the rental store) while I was nursing him. And when HE cried in the car, humming the theme music soothed him. Seriously, worked like a charm, every time. The only drawback was that you had to keep humming it until he was fast asleep, which sometimes took a long, long time. The theme to Star Trek TNG gets really grating after a while – but of course not as grating as a crying baby.